There is no question that the loss of a loved one figures prominently in this
examination of an Oklahoman life. From an early adult in the 1940s to his
death in i991, the author's father was a member of the visible underworld that
created the "Dixie Mafia." At first glance, the type is easily pictured: a connected
man's man, who can turn dangerous in a moment, a person to have as a
friend-never as an enemy. Hurtling at the son, like his father's bootlegging car,
are Wayne's actions: awash in immorality, yet operating in a moral, approach-
able framework. Nimbly, the author avoids the temptation to hero worship. In-
stead, he allows his research to provide a balanced view to the reader.
A danger exists when using interviews with contemporaries to bolster one's
own recollection of events. To prevent error, Padgett bolsters his work with FBI
and court records. The files reveal a number of murders that could be traced to
associates of Wayne's. A life-sized "soap carving" is just one of the many incidents
that provide a reader pause. Court records provide a glimpse into the defense
bar and prosecutorial discretion in filing a case. The network of corruption and
deceit that Wayne operates within eventually leads to a conviction. Footnotes to
these records would have been appropriate, but the author chose to use another
method of citation. Sound writing and accuracy help the reviewer overcome the
author's distinct lack of notes. An annotated bibliography provides research op-
portunities for a scholar.
The author deftly weaves his father into the historical landscape of Oklahoma.
The city of Tulsa emerges as a contributor to the compelling tension of Wayne
Padgett's life. Fast-paced and gripping, the pages reveal the sheer charm and
brutality that Padgett requires for survival. The author does not preach or con-
demn, he merely places his father in an historically accurate account of an era.
Oklahoma State Unzverszty Carter Mattson
With Fire and Sword: Arkansas, r86z-1874. By Thomas A. DeBlack. (Fayetteville:
University of Arkansas Press, 2003. Pp. xiv+263. Foreword, photographs, il-
lustrations, maps, selected sources, index. ISBN: 1-5572-8739-2, $34.95,
cloth; ISBN 1-5572-8760-6. $18.95, paper.)
In his new work, Wzth Fire and Sword: Arkansas, z861z-874, the fourth in the
Histories of Arkansas series, Thomas DeBlack focuses on that period of U.S. histo-
ry that was most defining for all of the Southern states: the Civil War and Recon-
struction. This particular study benefits from and acts as an amalgamation of
over one hundred years of writing on the subject. His overall purpose and scope
seem clear: to compile a definitive work on this period of his state's history. With
rich primary sources, such as family diaries and journals, and secondary sources
of equally deep focus, DeBlack's completed work is what will doubtless be the
seminal study of this period of Arkansas state history for many years to come.
DeBlack manages this feat with an incredibly well-written and easy-to-follow
narrative of state events as they transpire against the backdrop of national crisis.
One strong point of Wth Fire and Sword is that it does not require that the reader
already have a firm understanding of the Civil War to understand the book. In
concise, but incredibly informative, selections in almost every chapter, the facts
of the national crisis are embedded within the narrative, educating the previous-
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101224/. Accessed May 23, 2013.